Meaning of ACTION in English

I. ˈakshən noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English accioun, from Middle French action, from Latin action-, actio, from actus (past participle of agere to do) + -ion-, -io -ion — more at agent

1. : a deliberative or authorized proceeding:


(1) : a legal proceeding by which one demands or enforces one's right in a court of justice

(2) : a judicial proceeding for the enforcement or protection of a right, the redress or prevention of a wrong, or the punishment of a public offense — usually distinguished from special proceeding

(3) : the right to bring or maintain such a legal or judicial proceeding — see suit


(1) : an award by a judicial body

(2) : an act or decision by an executive or legislative body (as of a government or a political party) or by a supranational agency

the action taken by Congress followed a lengthy debate

strikes organized by action committees


a. : the bringing about of an alteration by force or through some natural agency

the action of water on rocks

b. : the process of change or alteration considered as a natural condition : activity

intervals of action and repose

c. : the progressive alteration of mental states or of mental and physical states coordinately especially when resulting in an observable effect on the external world — compare behavior 1b

d. : a quantity expressed in cgs units of erg seconds relating to the change of a dynamic system from one configuration to another and regarded in classical dynamics as twice the product of the average kinetic energy during the change and the time interval in which the change takes place

e. ecology : the effect of the environment on the individuals exposed to it as a factor in community formation — see coaction

3. : the process of doing : exertion of energy : performance : manner of doing:

a. : the deportment of an actor or speaker or his expression by means of attitude, voice, gesture, and countenance

an actor's words and actions should agree

b. : the movement of the feet and legs (of a horse or dog)

c. : a function of the body or of one of its parts or organs ; specifically : defecation

4. : a voluntary act of will that manifests itself externally

an emergency requiring action

or that may be completed internally (as in contemplation) — contrasted with passion


a. : a thing done : deed

b. actions plural : behavior , conduct 3c

somber actions

c. : initiative , enterprise

a man of action



(1) : an engagement between troops

two small actions for control of the hill

or ships

decks cleared for action

(2) : combat in war

he saw action on a destroyer


(1) : a real or imaginary event or series of events forming the subject of a play, poem, or other composition

(2) : the unfolding of the events of a drama or work of fiction : plot

(3) : the movement of incidents in a plot

action -packed drama

an action story

c. : the combination of circumstances that constitute the subject matter of a painting or sculpture


(1) : a religious ceremony : a sacramental or devotional performance

(2) : the canon of the mass, the communion service, or the Lord's Supper

7. : a share of stock


a. : an operating mechanism:

(1) : a mechanism connecting the keys with the sounding or effective part (as strings, pipes, or type faces) of a keyboard instrument or machine

(2) : a mechanism by means of which a firearm is loaded and fired — compare lock ; automatic , double-action , semiautomatic , single-action

b. : the manner in which a mechanism operates:

(1) : the response or resistance of keys in a keyboard-operated mechanism to the player's or operator's fingers

a stiff action

a sluggish action

(2) : the amount of resiliency and flexibility in a fishing rod in relation to its length and diameter

dry-fly action

wet-fly action

(3) : the relationship between the number of turns made by the reel spool in a fishing reel for every turn of the reel handle

a single- action reel


a. : the price movement and trading volume of a commodity, security, or market

b. : the entire process of betting including essentially the offering and acceptance of a bet and determination of a winner

II. transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

archaic : to bring a legal action against

III. noun

1. : financial gain or an opportunity for financial gain

a piece of the action

2. : sexual activity

3. : the most vigorous, productive, or exciting activity in a particular field, area, or group

go where the action is

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.